SASIG 2012/13 Meeting Dates

Thursday 14 June 2012 The Aviation Minister, Theresa Villiers, shall be attending.
Friday 9 November 2012 
Friday 1 March 2013.

  2 – 8 June Parliamentary and Government News

Government News

BAA Ltd threatens to sue the Government over third runway at Heathrow
Heathrow operator BAA Ltd is threatening to sue the Government if it continues to rule out considering a third runway as an option to expand airport capacity in Britain.  BAA Ltd believes that a point-blank refusal by the Government to look into building a new runway would be a breach of ‘proper process’, say company sources and the firm has consulted lawyers and believes it has a good case to get the Government to consider the expansion.

Department for Transport Business Plan published
The Plan indicates that it expects the consultation on a sustainable aviation framework and hub airport status to run from July 2012 to October 2012.

The Plan also gives a time line for “Heathrow Operational Freedoms”, stating that the consultation on results will be between September and November 2013 with the announcement of decision May 2014.

Press Releases

Abandoned air traffic control sell-off yet another u-turn from shambolic government – Maria Eagle (Shadow Transport Secretary)

Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to reports of a u-turn on plans to sell off the Government’s controlling stake in NATS said:  “This is yet another u-turn from a shambolic government that even David Cameron has described as routinely on the brink of ploughing into brick walls.

“It is incredible that Ministers have until now ignored our warnings that that a foreign government would be the most likely buyer if a controlling stake in Britain’s airspace was put on the market. This sell-off was always purely ideological and would have delivered no benefits to the aviation industry, passengers or the taxpayer while jeopardising the operational effectiveness of jointly managed civilian and military use of our airspace. Giving up Britain’s control over our airspace would have put at risk the stability that has come from the highly successful partnership between the UK government and airline established by Labour.

“The government must now urgently confirm that they now finally understand the clear national interest in maintaining control of this key strategic asset which operates at no cost to the taxpayer and in fact delivers an ongoing dividend to the Treasury which would have been lost following any sale.”


  9 – 15 June Parliamentary and Government News

Government News

Airlines urge EU to ditch carbon permit scheme
Brussels has been accused of trying to impose the purchase of carbon permits on non-member states and has triggered fears that countries could retaliate against EU carriers if Brussels tries to force the issue. 

Tony Tyler, the director general of the International Air Transport Association, has suggested that a global scheme should be agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, an arm of the United Nations.

Business lobby group demands noise czar in battle for a third runway at Heathrow Airport
Transport Secretary Justine Greening has come under pressure to appoint a figure to control extra flights in a bid to restore public confidence.  Business lobby group London First chief executive Baroness Valentine wrote to Ms Greening asking: “Public concern over noise levels must be addressed. We urge you to explore ways to repair trust through a truly independent noise regulator.”

Think tank calls for cross-party inquiry on airport expansion
The Fabian Society has published a report, ‘Everyone On Board: Bringing the public into the aviation debate’, which finds widespread disapproval from the public of aviation policy decisions being made to further short-term political aims rather than focusing on the long-term needs of the country.

Eric Pickles rejects a third Heathrow runway ‘in the lifetime of this parliament
Communities Secretary Mr Pickles said that “there are lots of things that we can do to increase airport capacity in the south east without reopening the question”.

Prime Mininsters Questions – David Cameron accused of ‘expansionist agenda’ over Heathrow runway
David Cameron has come under pressure from Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond to categorically rule out building a third runway at Heathrow.  Mr Cameron replied the “coalition position hasn’t changed”, but added the government had to consider “how we expand airport capacity overall, [and] make sure that Heathrow operates better”.

Mr Goldsmith has threatened to stand down if his party backtrack on Heathrow.

Confederation of British Industry calls on Government to commission an independent review of environmental taxes
The CBI has published a new report on the existing environmental tax landscape.  The CBI’s research shows some individual taxes have been successful but others, particularly Air Passenger Duty (APD), are viewed much more negatively.

House of Commons Questions

Recent steps to stimulate growth in the UK aerospace manufacturing and support sectors and discussions with representatives of the UK aerospace industry – Fitzpatrick, J – 11 June 2012
Discussions with the Department for Transport on the potential environmental effects of building an airport in the Thames Estuary – Reckless, M – 11 June 2012
Assessments made on the effect of an airport in the Thames Estuary on airspace management Reckless, M – 11 June 2012
Representations from the French, Belgium and Dutch governments on the potential effect of an airport in the Thames Estuary on French, Belgian or Dutch airspace Reckless, M – 11 June 2012
Review of the implementation of the Airports Slot Allocation Regulations 2006 and  amendment of the Airports Act 1986 – Goldsmith, Z – 11 June 2012
Steps  to improve capacity at Heathrow airport – Soames, N – 11 June 2012
Introduction of an exemption from airport passenger duty for flights to and from Northern Ireland – Ritchie, M – 13 June 2012

House of Lords Questions

How much has been raised in Air Passenger Duty on behalf of HM Treasury in each of the last five years by British Airways,  Virgin Atlantic,  easyJet, and Ryanair– Lord Monks, 13 June 2012

Debates and Legislation

Lords Second Reading – Civil Aviation Bill


  16 – 22 June Parliamentary and Government News

Government News

‘Take APD campaign to MPs’, says industry coalition
The industry coalition A Fair Tax on Flying has launched its biggest campaign to date as it seeks to persuade 100,000 people to write to their MPs demanding action on Air Passenger Duty (APD).  The coalition has launched the website which generates a letter to the local MP from anyone who enters their postcode.

Boris Johnson backs new runway at Stansted airport
The Mayor said another runway at the airport would be a “fantastic step in the right direction” to solving the South-East’s air capacity crisis before building a new hub in the Thames Estuary.

New £80 million package for advances in aerospace and manufacturing announced The Government is investing £25 million, with business, led by Rolls-Royce, providing £40 million, for a series of collaborative research and technology projects.

Thames Estuary airport slammed by the London Assembly
The Assembly has agreed a motion calling on Boris Johnson to abandon his plans for a new Estuary airport, describing them as a simplistic and ill-conceived vanity project. 

Westminster Committees

Transport Committee – The Government’s Rail 2020 strategy
The Transport Committee heard from Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF; Bob Crow, General Secretary, RMT; Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA; Julia Long, Unite; Tim O’Toole CBE, Chairman, Network Rail; Sir David Higgins, Vice-Chairman, Rail Delivery Group; Sir Roy McNulty, Chairman, Rail Value for Money Study; and Graham Smith MBE, Team Leader, Rail Value for Money Study

Business, Innovation and Skills Committee – Progress with Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Regional Growth Fund
The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee will now hold a one-off evidence session with BIS Ministers in September on progress with local enterprise partnerships and the Regional Growth Fund.

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee – An air transport strategy for Northern Ireland
The Committee heard from Theresa Villiers MP, Transport Minister

 Northern Ireland Affairs Committee – An air transport strategy for Northern Ireland
The Committee heard from Jonathan Sedgwick, International Director, UK Border Agency (UKBA)

House of Commons Questions

Progress with the International Civil Aviation Organisation on an agreement on a global emissions trading scheme – Goldsmith, Z – 19 June 2012
Publication of the  Department for Transport’s analysis on whether air services at Heathrow adequately serve important countries for UK exports – Goldsmith, Z – 20 June 2012
British residents awaiting compensation from airline carriers relating to disruption arising from Icelandic ash clouds – Stephenson, A – 18 June 2012
Assessment of the extent of spare capacity at (a) Stansted, (b) Luton, (c) Gatwick and (d) Birmingham airport – Goldsmith, Z – 18 June 2012

House of Lords Questions

Representations made to British Airways regarding maintaining the direct air link between Belfast City Airport and Heathrow Airport – Lord Eames – 19 June 2012
Discussions  with the operators of the Gatwick Express about improving its reliability, cleanliness, punctuality and customer service in time for the Olympics in July and August – Lord Laird, 20 June 2012
How many passengers flew from each London airport in each year since 2007 – Lord Laird – 20 June 2012


  23 – 29 June Parliamentary and Government News

Government News

Regulation of Aviation Security
Transport Secretary Justine Greening has published a summary of responses to the Government’s consultation on better regulation for aviation security, and announced the Government’s decision on taking forward the initiative.

The consultation document Better Regulation for Aviation Security set out proposals to modernise the regulatory regime for aviation security to bring it into line with better regulation principles, promote innovation and efficiency and ensure the best possible passenger experience.

Civil Aviation Authority – UK Flights Maintain Record Punctuality
In the first quarter of 2012, 82% of scheduled flights were on-time, the same as in the first quarter of 2011, equalling the highest level this century. Average delay was also maintained at 10 minutes.  Manchester and Heathrow had the worst on-time  performance (79%) for scheduled flights, whereas Glasgow, Newcastle, London City, Birmingham and Edinburgh all achieved an on-time performance of over 85%.

£266M transport boost for green growth and infrastructure

Putting aviation red tape under the spotlight
Passengers and the aviation industry are being given the chance to cut red tape to make life easier for passengers and boost business.  The Aviation Theme will go live on the Red Tape Challenge website on Thursday 28th June.

Four Non-Executive Directors appointed to HS2 Ltd

Westminster Debates and Legislation

MPs debate Rail-Air Connectivity in South-East England
Improving rail-air connectivity in the South East was being taken forward through a number of projects, with specific emphasis being placed on Gatwick.

Civil Aviation Bill – Lords Committee stage – Discussion on surface access

House of Commons Questions

Air passenger duty charges by plane, not passenger – Dorries, N – 26 June 2012
Plans to promote the aviation industry – Kirby, S – 27 June 2012
Helicopter Noise – Brake, T- 28 June 2012
Manchester Airport connections in north England – Farron, T – 28 June 2012
Expansion of airports in the south-east of England – Huppert, J – 28 June 2012
Rail links to Heathrow – Mactaggart, F – 28 June 2012

 Westminster Committees

Transport Committee – Improvements to Gatwick Airport rail links  – The Government’s rail 2020 strategy
The Transport Commons Committee heard from: Tom Smith, Chairman, Association of Train Operating Companies, Gatwick Airport; James Colman, Executive Director, Gatwick Airport; Ian Yeowart, Managing Director, Alliance Rail Holdings.

Press Releases

Justine Greening MP’s latest aviation comments suggest she’s yet again out of the loop – Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Justice Minister

Aviation foundation calls for new air strategy – Friends of the Earth

‘Better Airports’ Package

On 1 December 2011, the European Commission announced its ‘better airports’ package. The package contains proposals to revise existing legislation:
1. Slots
2. Ground handling
3. Noise
The SASIG office has produced a summary report on the ‘better airports’ package, on the link here.


  April 2011-12 CAA Airport Traffic Stats (Reported in June 2012)